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In this article, I’d like to talk about how to provide material when conducting an online lesson.

How do you present your material? How do you make it available to your students?

I’m not going to talk about what kind of material is most appropriate to use. This is actually a topic I intend to cover in my next article.

In general, you have these possibilities to  provide material: 

  1. Send it by email before the lesson
  2. Send it through Skype before or during the lesson
  3. Share your screen during the lesson
  4. Share links to websites or videos during the lesson
  5. Give your students the possibility to download the material

So,

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Some time ago, an English teacher in a Facebook group expressed her surprise about a student who had told her how important it was for him to have a good and personal relationship with the teacher.

Being as much a teacher as a student, I know 1:1 sessions from both perspectives and the importance of a good and personal relationship between a teacher and a student doesn’t surprise me at all.

How a teacher changed my life with his personal approach towards students

When I was seventeen,

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It’s the nightmare of every digital nomad online teacher:  You come to a new place and discover that the internet sucks.

This is exactly what happened to me when I arrived in Prague a couple of days ago.  I had rented an AirBnB room and had told my host that I needed fast and reliable internet. She had assured me that it wouldn’t be a problem. Well, it was a problem. I nevertheless managed to teach all my scheduled lessons.

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If you teach on italki, you probably know this scenario: It’s Tuesday 10:00 am and a student sends you a reschedule request for the lesson at 11:00 am on Wednesday. Often without any explanations, no sorry, nothing, just taking it for granted that this is totally acceptable.

Of course, you could offer Instant Tutoring in the free hour but if you have other lessons from 10 – 11 am and then at 12:00 pm,

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When you only use a platform like italki to offer your lessons, you don’t necessarily need an email list. Some teachers ask their students for their email address in order to send them material by email. However, according to the laws of many countries, this doesn’t give you the right to start sending marketing emails without asking for permission.

Why email marketing?

But once you start with your own website, you need to start building your email list,

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So you have decided that you want to start your own online business as a language teacher. You may have already bought a domain and web space, made yourself familiar with some WordPress basics, bought a nice-looking theme ….. but no content yet.

The blank screen syndrome

You stare at your screen and try to think of something unique to write about. You start typing, you hesitate …. and start thinking again:

  • Hasn’t that been written by someone much more knowledgeable than me?

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You are passionate about teaching and working with languages but you never studied linguistics or translation or another language-related subject at university. Perhaps you work as a nurse, a lawyer, a secretary or a supermarket cashier. Perhaps you’re not that young anymore and are wondering whether a career change is an option. And whether teaching online without formal qualifications is possible at all.

Comparing yourself with others

Perhaps you already had a look at some of the well-known online teaching platforms such as italki and considered registering as a teacher.

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When I went to school in the 1970’s and 1980’s, our teachers tortured us with a lot of grammar drills. Not only in the foreign languages classes (English, French and Latin in my case). No, grammar was also important in our German classes. It would be a lie if I said that I always enjoyed it but it gave me an excellent foundation for my further language studies.

Linguistics help you to learn a language

I wasn’t only introduced to the grammar itself but also to the framework of a language,

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How do you manage your time as a teacher? Is your schedule constantly changing or do you have steady working hours? Do you adapt to your students’ needs or do you have a fixed schedule? What happens when you’re on holiday or have an appointment?

You will see that I often refer to italki in my article, simply because this is the platform I’m using to offer my lessons. Other platforms are similar,

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As language teachers, we’re normally happy when a potential student comes along or when a student indicates that he would like to continue having lessons with you. When you’re new to teaching, saying “no” to a student probably won’t occur to you. Most of us still have this image of a classroom situation in our minds where neither the teacher nor the student has a choice. They just have to get along with each other.

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